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Doctors at risk

Doctors face the firing line as study reveals that 1 in 20 patients wants to kill their medic. Neha Sharma has the details.

health and fitness Updated: May 26, 2008 12:48 IST
Neha Sharma

Doctors beware. If recent research at the University of Miami is anything to go by, 1 in 20 out of 800 patients wants to kill their doctors.

Many of these patients were in a lot of pain, undergoing physical rehabilitation or distrusted the doctor. The research revealed that many doctors were attacked and injured by their patients.

Delhi doctors share that they have been at the receiving end of violence too.

Dr Rahul Chandhok, consultant psychiatrist at Batra hospital says that such incidents happen and he has known patients to start throwing things.

"At times, patients turn violent, and scream that I know nothing. It can be difficult."

Dr Ashish Gupta, dentist, says that prolonged treatment or fear of the treatment can make people behave abnormally and they intentionally try to irritate the doctor.

"A patient once sat the other way round on the chair and when I asked him to spit, he spat on my feet. When I told him that I would have to give him an injection before the extraction, he took his shirt off saying that is where I should give the injection."

Other doctors say that such behaviour usually results from patients who come with very high expectations. A case in point is that of women wanting to look more beautiful.

Dr Seema Goel, director Berkowits Hair and Skin clinic says that two to three per cent of clients turn violent especially in case of laser hair removal.

"During counseling, we tell them exactly what is possible. Even then they create a ruckus if they don't get the required effect. We have to give them complementary sittings to mollify them," she says.

Dr Swati of Clinic Dermatech says verbal spats are common when pa tients are denied a desired appoint ment. Psychiatrist Deepak Raheja however has a different take on the matter.

He says Indian doctors are trying to ape the West where the med ical profession is much more con sumer oriented. He says that the num ber of people suing doctors is gradu ally increasing.

"Surprisingly, the reasons for suing are not about in competency but lack of sensitivity by the doctor as has been revealed by a worldwide survey."